This summer, Wrike CFO Thomas Scott took on the role of interim CEO, as founder and former CEO Andrew Filev stepped into a board advisor role after 17 years as the head of the company. We’re in good hands, though. Thomas has all of the expertise and business acumen to take up the mantle as Wrike’s leader.
As Thomas assumes the Interim CEO position, we thought a Q&A would be an appropriate way for our customers, partners, and the general public to get to know his leadership style, his goals for Wrike moving forward, and his thoughts on current tech trends.
Q: Why don’t we start with your Wrike journey, how did it all start?
A: My Wrike journey started over a year ago; my one-year anniversary was in March of 2023. I had sold my prior business in the middle of 2021, and right as I started to consider my next challenge I had the good fortune to meet Andrew. I had been working as a financial and operating executive for innovative technology businesses for over 17 years, and was looking for the combination of a great product, team, and opportunity to make an impact. Wrike offered this chance and I have never looked back since taking this challenge.
Q: What does it mean to be Interim CEO at Wrike?
As Interim CEO, my role is to guide Wrike forward on the next chapter of our story. Part of this includes maintaining continuity on the things that brought Wrike to this level of success and part of it includes fostering innovation and change as we adapt to a new economic environment along with our customers..
Q: How is Wrike planning to thrive in a challenging climate?
A: As we look to grow our business, it’s important to note that the environment has changed. Our customers are focused on efficiency and productivity and we’re really no exception to that. We’re doing the exact same thing, looking at how we can be more productive as a company and how we can take advantage of this shifting situation in the overall economy, and within IT spending in particular.
If you think about the Wrike customer journey of going from teams to department to the overall company, I think some of what’s going on in the industry as a whole is going to help that journey. We just have to be very prescriptive about our strategies, staying focused on winning with our product, winning with our core customers, and ultimately winning with enterprise organizations to take advantage of some of these trends.
I’m preparing to discuss some of these strategies at Wrike Collaborate 2023 in November, and we’re welcoming our VP of Product, Alexey Korotich, to the stage to discuss platform innovations that will get all of our customers excited about what’s to come. It’s a thrilling time to be in this industry and to be at Wrike, specifically. Innovation is in our DNA, we’re pioneers in AI for CWM, and you don’t want to miss the news at Collaborate.
Q: What is your take on trends like AI?
A: AI is both fascinating and concerning at the same time if you think about the number of different use cases where it could be applied and the speed with which it could cause disruption.
For me, it is an interesting trend to follow externally in terms of what other companies are doing, but it’s also really interesting what we’re doing with it here at Wrike because there’s an enormous amount of use cases that we can apply both within the product as well as within our different functional areas. AI is going to allow us to create efficiencies in how we best serve our customers and tailor our message to them.
Again, tune into Collaborate – we have some incredible announcements to make on this front.
Q: What sets Wrike apart from its competitors?
A: The scalability of the product is a key differentiator. This product was built for scale and a lot of our competitors were not. Another differentiator is the work that we’ve done over the last year with Wrike Lightspeed that has made the entry-level point for this product really compelling. Teams now have the ability to adopt it earlier on, and that’s transformational.
From a use case perspective, our own teams have really increased their usage of Wrike and their ability to free up time by automating workflows. We know from experience that once you’re using Wrike for simple use cases, you start asking, ‘What else can I do with this?’ It opens up other possibilities, it brings in other users, and that gives you an idea of what that customer journey can look like on the outside as you’re watching it develop internally.
Q: What does Wrike’s financial future look like?
A: We have a great opportunity ahead of us given macroeconomic trends, their impact on business today, and Wrike’s inherent ability to improve efficiency and productivity – which is what every organization is focused on right now. As an STG portfolio company, I’m not able to share financial information; however, Wrike’s executive team is very much focused on understanding the growth rate in our market, where opportunities lie, and how we can invest in products, people, and processes to be able to increase the value of the business.
Q: How would you describe Wrike culture?
A: Wrike has a culture that drives change. This business has successfully navigated a number of really transformational milestones. From COVID to the Citrix acquisition and, subsequently, the demerger from Citrix, there are a number of big changes that we have been through. The resilience of this culture and the willingness to continue to find ways to innovate is something that I’m proud to be a part of here.
Our employees have a lot of grit. They can come into a challenging situation and are able to problem-solve and persevere through it. They are also intellectually curious, as well, and you have to be to work in such a fast-paced space.
Q: What makes Wrike a unique place to work?
A: We truly are a global company spread out across a number of locations. I think that is a real strength for us and something that we should continue to invest in. Our resilience and ability to change is a key aspect of the culture and that’s something that I want to see us continue to invest in as well.
Q: What are the most exciting projects being developed at Wrike?
A: There’s an exciting opportunity for us to continue to expand how we use technology within our own business, whether that is to continue to drive more use cases internally with Wrike, or by investing in the tech stack that we use that we’re not fully utilizing today, or even bringing together different data sources.
Additionally, we’re looking to more than double Wrike’s business over the next few years. In order to do that, we’ve got to develop the next generation of leaders that will help this business scale and I view that as one of the more important things that I do in my job.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of being Wrike’s Interim CEO?
A: By far the most rewarding part of what I do is being able to travel around and talk to customers and our employees. That has been the best thing that I’ve done here. I’ve taken dozens of trips since I’ve been here over the last year, and I very much believe in forming relationships with people across our global footprint.
Q: How do you spend your spare time?
A: I am probably not the best role model for work-life balance, but I have a 14-year-old daughter so I both watch and coach a fair amount of youth sports and I love doing that. I also enjoy outdoor activities myself, like skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. I try to live as active a life outside the office as I can.
Thomas will be delivering a keynote at our sixth annual virtual Collaborate event in November. Make sure to save your spot so you can get even further insights into what’s to come for Wrike.